Loading your recommendations…

Eagle Festival Swoops Into Arlington

Birdwatchers, rejoice! This small-town festival brings crowds to watch eagles as they arrive to feast on salmon in the Stillaguamish River just north of Seattle.

It’s hard to imagine a more iconic PNW image than a bald eagle swooping down to catch salmon in its talons. This powerful show of carnivorous raptor hunting is celebrated every year by the City of Arlington, just north of Seattle. 

Every year, bald eagles flock to the snaking Stillaguamish River in anticipation of migratory salmon. This makes early February an ideal time for birdwatchers to watch and photograph these majestic birds as they feast upon their fishy prey.

Join the eagle photo contest!

As part of the festivities, the City of Arlington publishes a map with eagle-watching spots. The best viewpoints span the entire length of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River – all the way from Darrington in the foothills of the Cascades to Port Susan where the “Stilly” empties into the Salish Sea

Along the winding banks of the river are some of the most legendary fly-fishing spots in the United States. The Stillaguamish was the first ever river to be designated as “fly-fishing only” thanks to lobbying by outdoors enthusiasts. Today there are large salmon runs here every year. And with the salmon come the eagles in droves. 

Fishing the Stilly.

The Arlington community makes a weekend out of it. Among the many micro-celebrations are chainsaw carving, eagle photography and haiku contests (with prizes up to $200), vendors, children’s activities, and rafting trips for birdwatchers. Almost all these events are free, which is a good thing.  

When you visit Arlington, make sure to budget time to explore the entire length of the Stillaguamish River Valley, as it parallels the twists and turns of the scenic Mountain Loop Highway

If you love iconic PNW beauty and/or are a birdwatcher, this is a fine feathered festival that you simply cannot miss.  

Arlington Eagle Festival 

February 3-4, 2023 

More detailed info HERE 


Explore the best of Stillaguamish-Sauk River Valleys. Check out our regional guide.

Let's go!

The Mountain Loop Highway is an ideal summer road trip. Plan ahead!

Learn more

Want More Trip Inspiration?

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the freshest stories, videos, and travel ideas from our corner of the PNW.

Sign Me Up